Escaping Fiery Darts and Entrapping Sins

Satan attempts to use the sin in the world and in people dwelling all around us to inflict us with physical and emotional wounds. He delights in deceiving us and inflicting pain through the destruction of sin.

 

God tells us to draw near to him and to resist the devil, and the devil has to flee (James 4:7). We can avoid many of life’s tragedies and their consequences by walking in the Spirit instead of in the flesh (Galatians 5:15-25).

 

There are inevitable consequences of life on this sin-cursed earth, such as certain illnesses and death; yet, it is often the foods we eat and products we use on our body and in our home, as well as the people in our life, which contribute to our unnecessary illness and untimely death.

 

If we realize that we are raised with Christ and hidden with Him in God, we understand that God has ultimate control over our life. We keep our self free from the pursuit and love of money and escape undue stress and its effects on our body, soul and spirit.

 

Jesus calls us to seek Heavenly matters and wisdom from the right hand of God where He is sitting (Colossians 3:1-3). We learn to obey His Spirit and to live contentedly with what He provides.

 

God’s great love and compassion never fail and prevent us from being consumed by sin, the devil and the world. God faithfully provides His mercy for us each new morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

 

We awaken to a whole new day of His provision and protection. As we are still before God and listen to His voice, we know God in an intimate relationship, and find His peace in uncertainty.

 

He never leaves or forsakes us and He abides within our spirit and protects our body and soul from the ravages of this world (Hebrews 13:5). Born of God, we overcome this world and enjoy His victory through our belief and faith in Christ (1 John 5:4-5).

 

Prayer:

Father God, life is so uncertain and we constantly wonder what will happen tomorrow to throw a wrench in the works. You give us the faith of Christ, which helps us to realize that life’s challenges are really adventures when You are involved in them with us. As we focus our faith in Your faithfulness, we enjoy life so much more.

 

You are Creator and Savior and are always in charge, even when we wander from Your will. Your love never changes and You always draw us back to the protection of Your straight and narrow road (Matthew 7:14). We look forward to You coming for Your Saints, but we thank You too for overcoming this world in and through us until You do.

 

Thought for the Day:

Christ in us enables us to escape the fiery darts of the devil and to protect us from reaping the destruction of the sins, which so easily trap us in their grip. – Ephesians 6:16; Hebrews 12:1

 

Our Benefits as a Christ Follower

Christianity does not make us superior to anyone else. It simply initiates our spiritual birth and brings fulfillment into our life.
As we mature, Christ becomes our whole life (Colossians 3:4).

We have confidence and security in Christ (Galatians 2:20). He abides within us and knows us better than we know our self (Colossians 1:27).

God may withhold from us some of the desires of our heart, because they are not in His plan for us at this time. As we trust and obey, He fills us entirely with His love, joy and peace, and we overflow with assurance and hope through His Spirit (Romans 15:13).

When we insist on our own way, God allows us to fail, in order to teach us to wait on Him and His will, rather than pursuing our own will for our life. God is working out His plan for us each moment of our day.

If we follow the direction of God’s Spirit for our day, our efficiency increases and our stress level decreases. He teaches us to cooperate with His Body in order to increase our productivity for His Kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

God supplies all of our needs and leads us by His Spirit as we concede to His will (Proverbs 3:5-6). He gives us one day at a time to prevent us from worrying about the past and fearing the future.

At times, we may feel idle and useless, or that God is not speaking to us. However, these are the times of companionable silence, which God enjoys with His Saints.

Our Father God demonstrated His love for us by becoming man to pay the penalty of our sins (Romans 5:8). He finds pleasure in an intimate relationship with each of us. He quiets us with His love and rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

Prayer:
Father God, You consider us as Your friends, children, holy nation, royal priests, Your own possession and chosen people (John 15:13-17; 1 John 3:2; 1 Peter 2:9). You will not allow any tribulation or distress, life or death, angels or principalities, the present or future, or any created thing to separate us from Your love, which dwells in us through Christ Jesus, our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).

Help us not to fail one another, wound each other deeply or cause anyone to stumble and fall away from You. Teach us to love one another as You love each of us.

Thought for the Day:
Living in the center of God’s will is the happiest place on earth; our enjoyment is amplified and our sorrows diminished as we maintain an eternal focus, rather than a temporal one. – Isaiah 26:3

More Than We Can Bear

Jesus brings us into right relationship with God, by bearing the ransom for our sins and giving us new life in Him both now and for all eternity (Romans 4:25; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Peter 2:24). We have more than blind faith that His love is ours.

Although God will not give us more temptation than we can resist, because He always gives us a way to repel it (1 Corinthians 10:13), there is no verse in the Bible, which guarantees that God will not give us more tribulation than we can bear.

In fact, God actually does give us more tribulation than we can bear. That may sound pessimistic and you may not believe me, but just look up the verse and see that it refers to temptation, not trials (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The good news is that God never gives us more negative circumstances than HE can bear, and He lives within us (Colossians 1:17; Galatians 2:20). He has compassion on us and is only a prayer away (Psalms 103:13).

We also have one another when we experience tribulation. God’s Holy Spirit orchestrates all of our lives as His Body. When we work together, each one doing his/her part (Ephesians 4:16), then we all flourish.

When one member of His Body suffers tribulation, we all suffer; and when one is honored, we all rejoice (1 Corinthians 12:26). There is no jealousy in the body of Christ. We strengthen one another and bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).

Prayer:
Father God, You are the one constant in our life. You never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We can count on Your presence in our life to comfort, direct, encourage and abide within us. We love knowing You in a personal, intimate relationship. We hunger and thirst after a holier life and a deeper connection with You (Matthew 5:6; Psalm 107:9). Thank You for giving us a taste of eternity right here on this earth (John 17:3).

Thought for the Day:
We live in continual communication with the One in whom we place our hope; and He gives us strength to victoriously overcome the trials we face.

Not Limiting God

Believers are actually foreigners here on this earth, because this is not our permanent home (John 17:16-18). We are camping out in this tent of flesh, until God calls us home (2 Corinthians 5:1). Our eternal life starts at Salvation, because it is simply an intimate relationship with God and with Jesus, whom He sent to restore us to Himself (John 17:3).

Satan no longer has dominion over us due to Jesus defeating Him and sin and death at His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:57). God redeemed us through Christ and He purifies our life through sanctification (Titus 2:14; Galatians 3:13; Psalm 66:10). The only limits placed on God are those we impose on Him by our unbelief, because with God all things are possible, if we only believe (Luke 1:37).

In the Christian walk, we surrender our life, goals and plans to God’s will for us. We do not make plans and ask God to bless them, because this limits God and what He wants to accomplish through us. God does not want us to work for Him. He gives us the opportunity to give Him control over our life, so that Christ can live in us and work through us (Galatians 2:20: Colossians 3:3).

Jesus does this through His Holy Spirit, whom we receive at salvation. God’s Spirit dwells in us and fills us with His wisdom and power (Romans 8:9; Acts 1:8). We take our focus off the things in this life, because we realize that our citizenship is actually in Heaven (Ephesians 2:19; Philippians 3:19-21). This allows us the privilege of dwelling with God for eternity as His adopted children (Ephesians 1:5).

Prayer:
Father God, we long for the day in which we can live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, with the government on His shoulders (Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 11:13-16). Thank You for using creation to preach the gospel to anyone willing to see Your truth (Romans 1:20). In fact, the rocks will cry out if we fail to tell the world of Your love (Luke 19:40). Remind us to faithfully share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with anyone willing to listen. We thank You for redeeming us, for freeing us from the bondage of Satan, death and sin, and for making us part of Your family of Saints. We look forward to You living in us as Your Body for as many years as You have us on this earth; and then living with You, and knowing You even more intimately as the Bride of Christ throughout eternity.

Thought for the Day:
God makes us a holy city and sets us on a hill, so that the whole world can see Him in us (Matthew 5:14-16). We do not belong in this world; we are simply passing through.

Feasting on God’s Word

I have spent the last few months gardening in containers, which are spaced throughout my tiny outside flower garden. Some plants did better than the others. My tomatoes flourished and are still producing juicy, rich tomatoes. The peppers did well and are still sparsely bearing fruit. However, the okra, squash, green beans, celery and onions all failed to generate any usable fruit.

This reminds me of Jesus’ parable concerning the four types of soil: some seed fell upon the path, others among the thorns, many within the rocks and then just a few on the good soil. If the ground is hard, thorny or rocky, there is no room for the roots. It is only in the garden of prepared soil that a plant can take hold and grow to full maturity.

Similarly, our spiritual food is found in the rich depths of the Word of God. The only way to withstand the winds of adversity or the scorching trials and temptation we encounter in this life is to have our roots sunk deeply into a spiritually fertile environment. Jesus said that we will know His disciples by their fruit.

If His disciples are to produce fruit, they need good, rich, tilled, spiritually fertilized soil. As we receive God’s Word with conviction and repentance, we are ready to receive the proper nourishment. We feast on God’s Word, reading it every day to prepare the soil, so that we will bloom where God plants us.

Many of today’s churches are barren wastelands with nothing spiritually nutritious to offer the Believer. They focus on providing glitz and glitter to attract people, and then they supply only spiritual junk food, rather than wholesome nourishment. However, God is still raising up an army of teachers with every generation – those people who faithfully sow the seeds of the truth of God’s Word.

Prayer:
Father God, remind us to feast on Your Word throughout the day. We eat three physical meals a day, and we need at least that many spiritual meals in order to have a healthy spirit and an intimate relationship with You. Provide us with teachers who seek You in prayer before they share Your Word. Lead us to a caring and loving fellowship of Believers. Even in these end times, please keep a remnant of spiritual teachers, preaching Your truth on which we can feast, Biblical principles, which enable us to bear much fruit.

Thought for the Day:
A lifetime commitment to feast on God’s Word gives us the spiritual strength to minister for Him in every area in which He calls us.
– Ephesians 2:10

Our Death on Calvary’s Cross

I find it difficult to surrender my humanity so totally to Christ that it dies. This concept is very appealing to me, because I want to die in a practical sense to my self and the flesh. Sin infects every area of our life and we reap destruction from the seeds we sow. Repenting of our sins frees us from this vicious cycle and sets us free in Christ.

The first area to nail to the cross is trusting in our human mind and talents. Otherwise, we use secular wisdom to decide truth and this sets us on the wrong path for life. Next we die to our inordinate affections for things of this world that do not pertain to life and godliness (Colossians 3:5; 2 Peter 1:3). The pride of life, the lusts of the eye and the lusts of the flesh all expire little by little (1 John 2:16).

Jesus carries us through this dying process so there is no fear (Hebrews 2:15). We entrust our soul to His safe keeping, and reap sweet fellowship with our Savior and Lord. Our continuous union with Christ transports us to the spiritual realm where He lives. We lay down our humanity on the altar, and God raises us to walk in a new life (Romans 6:4).

As we surrender, the Spirit of God sanctifies us and leads us into God’s Kingdom. When we long for a more intimate relationship with King Jesus, we feel His presence in our spirit, sense His touch in our soul and see His healing or His grace to deal with an illness in our body. His love pours over us like a continual waterfall. We have instant access to the throne of God at any time (Ephesians 3:12).

Prayer:
Father God as we loose the ties that bind us to this earth, we are free to fly into the heavenly realm with You. We soar in the Spirit with eagles’ wings and we touch the hem of Jesus’ garment and are healed in spirit, soul and body (Matthew 9:20-21). We willingly submit our flesh to death on the cross with Christ, so that He can live in and through us each moment of the day (Galatians 2:20). Help us to relinquish our hold on this world and to trust You with our every need.

Thought for the Day:
It is time to relinquish any worldly idols, which keep us from intimacy in our union with God.

Following Jesus’ Example

Jesus lived every moment of His life in dependence on our Father. He did not make His own decisions or live His own life, but consulted the Father throughout His day (Psalm 62:5-12). Our Savior and Brother gave us His perfect example of how God wants each and every Born Again Believer to live his/her life (Romans 8:17); totally surrendered to God and completely expended for Him without any reservations.

 

Christ’s death atoned for the debt of our sin. He died in our place and took our punishment upon His own body (2 Corinthians 12:9). He redeemed us by shedding His own blood (Matthew 26:28). Now He sits on His throne on high and intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:25). He is our advocate with our Father (1 John 2:1). At the same time, He dwells within us by His Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16), empowering us to live a transformed life (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Jesus is the head of His Body, comprised of His Born Again Saints (1 Corinthians 12:27). The only way for us to truly experience the power of Christ’s resurrection is to conform to His death and become like Him (Philippians 3:10). As we die to our flesh Christ manifests His life in and through us (Romans 6:5). He impliments and perfects His life in us.  As we share in His sufferings, our comfort abounds (2 Corinthians 1:5).

 

Are we ready to die to the world and to our goals, aspirations, desires and wants for God? Does anything in our life mean more to us than God? Jesus did not come to do His will, but our Fathers (John 4:34). Do we have a separate agenda of our own that we prefer to follow instead of God’s will for our life? Living in the center of God’s will is the happiest place on earth.

 

Prayer:

Father God, knowing You in an intimate relationship is the reality of eternal life (John 17:3). We do not need to wait until heaven for this to occur. We can know You now. Bring us into spiritual maturity so that we can obtain the complete fullness of Christ in our body, soul and spirit (Ephesans 4:13). Remind us that as we conform to Jesus’ death, we live victoriously in His life. In eternity, we will also share in His glory (1 Peter 4:13).

 

Thought for the Day:

Only as we die to self will the life of Christ manifest in our life.

The Glory of the Lord

Moses saw the back of God’s form when he went up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments from the Lord. The experience was so amazing that his face shone so brightly with the glory of the Lord that no one could look at him. His face was as dazzling as the sun itself. Today, authentic Born Again Believers have this same glory of the Lord resident within us by His Spirit.

The Law, which Moses delivered to Israel on tablets of stone, was a dispensation in God’s government. It gave mankind a chance to earn God’s blessings (2 Corinthians 3:7-8). The Law was very impressive, and it successfully instructed Israel for generations of time. Yet, Jesus eventually came to fulfill the law and to pay the actual penalty of our sin (Matthew 5:17; 1 Peter 2:24).

Jesus brought the glory of His Spirit in Him, which is even more glorious than what Moses experienced. Moses wore a veil so the Israelites could not see that the glory was fading away, just like the ministry of the law (2 Corinthians 3:9-14). However, we have the glorious Spirit of God dwelling within us now and for all eternity.

Nothing can deter us from serving God according to His perfect will for our life (Ephesians 2:10). We are filled with the glory of God each and every day. God removed the veil from our eyes and we can see Him face-to-face. He is our living, intimate God, and He has no desire for us to keep the dead letter of the law (1 Corinthians 3:15-16).

He is personally present in our life and sets us free from the spirit of the Law of Sin and Death by the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2). We can never earn our own forgiveness or our salvation apart from Christ (Romans 2:8-9). In God’s presence, His glory in us gradually increases with our spiritual walk. It shines out of our countenance, and people know that there is something different about us (1 Corinthians 3:17-18).

Prayer:

Father God, the more time we spend time in Your presence, the more we are transformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). You are changing us from glory to glory (1 Corinthians 3:18). Remind us to make you the first priority in our life. Help those who know You superficially to come to a real, saving knowledge of salvation through Your Son (1 Timothy 2:4).

Thought for the Day:

We can love Christian songs, tee-shirts, bumper stickers, church services and fellowship; yet, never know Jesus in a personal way.

Truth is a Person

Christians in this modern world attempt to prove the existence of God intellectually, using apologetics and philosophical reasoning. We endeavor to explain an infinite God with finite terms of human logic (Isaiah 55:8,9). We attempt to formulate approved doctrines and to explain the Word of God accurately. Yet, we rarely agree on either doctrine or interpretation.

We often get close to painting an accurate picture, and many are won to Christ by these attempts. However, the more questions we answer, the more questions are left unanswered (1 Corinthians 8:1-3). Humans will never figure out God or His ways, because He will simply jump out of the box we create for Him (1 Corinthians 2:10; Romans 11:33). There are too many Biblical “mysteries”, which defy human explanation.

Consider the Trinity, Christ as God and man, the relationship between Christ and the church as a marriage, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven, God’s will, the Gospel of Christ, faith, the partial hardening of Israel until the time of the Gentiles is over, lawlessness at work, Christ abiding in us, immortality and that not everyone will die before Christ returns (Ephesians 3:8-9; Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:16).

Spiritually, as we surrender to God’s Truth, we come to trust His Spirit’s work within us for salvation. Then we trust the Spirit’s work through us. A branch does nothing in order to bear fruit. In this same way, God will put His thoughts in our mind to direct our actions, and His words in our mouth to comfort and encourage those around us. As we submit to His sanctifying work, He sets us apart from the world (1 Corinthians 1:18).

We may not see or feel His work in or through us, but we see the effects of it. God’s Spirit binds us to the Trinity within us and to our fellow Believers who live all over the world. The more intimate our relationship with God, the more rest we experience in our body, soul and spirit. We experience less stress in trials, because we know from experience that God always provides (Romans 8:28).

Prayer:
Father God, there is nothing on this earth that means more to us than knowing You (Philippians 3:8-10). Knowing You is eternal life (John 17:3). Jesus is the way, truth and life, and no one can come to You except through Him (John 14:6). You set us free by Your Son, who is our Truth (John 8:32, 36). Help us to make You our priority in life and to realize that we can argue doctrine all day long, but in the end, Jesus Christ is the only Truth.

Thought for the Day:
Who is wise enough among us to be the philosopher of our age? God makes man’s wisdom foolishness, because we do not know Him.
– 1 Corinthians 1:20

Our Abba Father

Our Father God is kind, generous and loving (1 John 4:8). Paul called Him “Abba Father” (Romans 8:15), which means “Daddy”. We have this intimate relationship with God that is sweeter than the best of human fathers. I grew up in an abusive home. My bipolar father never got treatment and took his mood swings out on my mother, brothers and me. I was afraid of Father God in my early days of faith. I viewed Him as the terrifying, smoky vision presented as the wizard of Oz.

One day, as I entered God’s courts in praise and prayer, God reminded me about the little man behind the curtain in Oz, who actually controlled that smoking mask. God showed me that He is not a terrifying being, or selfish ruler of the universe, but the caring God who actually helps us to have faith and hope, and who provided our salvation through Christ. We enter His throne room without fear, and with confidence that He hears our prayers and works in our behalf (Hebrews 4:16; Ephesians 3:12; 1 John 5:14).

Our Father God gives us an effectual, abundant life now, as well as later in heaven. He provides us with a myriad of blessings each and every day. He does not lead us into temptation (Matthew 6:13); but with each temptations presented to us by Satan or the world, God gives us a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). He provides us with an abundant supply, safety and security as we look to Him to provide (James 4:2; Psalm 91). He gives us victory through Christ in us (1 Corinthians 15:57).

Satan accuses and torments us, but God gives every authentic Born Again Believer our identity in Christ as His beloved child (Revelation 12:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17). We are free from sin, and we are raised in Christ to live a new life, which is directed by God’s Spirit (Romans 6:4,10; Romans 8:14). We are God’s children and we fix our hope on Him as He perfects us (1 John 3:2-3). Every good and perfect gift in this life comes from Him (James 1:17). God abundantly meets all of our needs (Philippians 4:6,19).

Prayer:
Father God,
Thank you for renewing our mind and for perfecting us in holiness (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Remind us to walk in Your Spirit, so we do not fulfill the desires of our flesh (Galatians 5:16-25), because our flesh is dead and buried with Christ in baptism (Colossians 3:3; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12). Help us to shed Your light from within us on all of humanity around us, because they are dying in darkness and sin (Romans 5:8).

Thought for the Day:
What we do in the flesh does not make us who we are in the Spirit. God will transform our flesh to walk in newness of life.